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"What can I say, I always find somebody that is stronger than me, in the Giro, now here. If any of those were a victory, my season would change a lot. But okay, about the legs I can only be happy because two weeks ago I was really dead...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






24.08.2014 @ 19:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In the Giro d'Italia, Giacomo Nizzolo took several second places behind an outstanding Nacer Bouhanni. Today he again came up against a faster rider when he was beaten by Alexander Kristoff in the Vattenfall Cyclassics to again finish second in a major race.


It’s a race that mostly ends in a sprint each year, and the 247-kilometer WorldTour one-day classic race around Hamburg played into the hands of the fast men again Sunday.


The day’s three-man escape group was little worry to the ProTour teams targeting a bunch run-in, especially with the sheer distance of the parcours that included the steep Waseberg climb (800m and 15%) the peloton negotiated four times.


The breakaway was absorbed the penultimate time up the Waseberg with 29 kilometers remaining, and the steep slope became the launch pad for opportunists. A small five-rider group slipped off the front, gained 20 seconds, but the peloton was not willing to let the move go. The quartet was brought back in time for the final ascent with 15 kilometers to go, and the fireworks set off again.


The Waseberg was the decisive point of the race, and the fight for the front positions leading into the climb followed by a tricky descent was fierce. Trek Factory Racing diligently moved to the front, keeping Nizzolo in top position for the last crucial run-in.


Attacks flew left and right until the final kilometers before teams began to assume some sort of control. With less than two kilometers remaining Danilo Hondo appeared at the front with Giacomo Nizzolo tucked in his slipstream; his timing impeccable, and his experience proving again to be a huge asset in the finale.


Nizzolo had perfect position thanks to the veteran’s help, but despite grabbing the fastest wheel and a bike throw at the line he was edged by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) rounded out the podium in third.


“Before the last climb the whole team helped me to stay in the first positions," Nizzolo said. "Danilo was there in the final kilometers, and he did a really great job.


"In the end I took the wheel of Kristoff, who for me was the favorite for today. I told the guys yesterday, and the day before, that the best guy who is in the best condition for this race was Kristoff, and in the end I was right because he won.


"What can I say, I always find somebody that is stronger than me, in the Giro, now here. If any of those were a victory, my season would change a lot. But okay, about the legs I can only be happy because two weeks ago I was really dead.”


It was a great result, but it was another second place for Nizzolo who has been knocking on the door of the big breakthrough victory.  Today there were no excuses; he was simply beaten by a faster man.


“I really feel for Giacomo because how many second and third places does he already have in his career? He is still waiting for that one big one," sports director Dirk Demol said. "But it will come, it’s on the way and that is what I told him after the race. He was frustrated and said, ‘there is always someone who beats me!’’ and I told him not to panic, you are again there, and for sure your day will come.


"All the top sprinters were here: Kittel, Cavendish, Démare, Kristoff. I saw the replay of the sprint and Kristoff was just too strong. In the race meeting I told [the team] to work hard and be ready because now I want to see some results here, and also in Plouay because it’s WorldTour.  But we have to ride smart and it’s up to us to take the race in hand, and finish as good as possible and we got the second place. They did a great job.


"Boy [van Poppel] was caught behind a crash near the end and lost his position and could not get back to help in the finale, but what can I say about Danilo? It’s his last year as a rider, he is a super professional, and huge respect for what he did again today.


"Second is a very good result and now I go home happy, but at the same time I feel sorry for Giacomo.”


Over riding the clear disappointment of coming so close to victory was the understanding that being the runner-up today was indeed a commendable result. Winning is always the ultimate goal, but there is no shame in second when you race against the fastest men in the world.


“When I look back 15 days ago after the virus I got in Wallonie I can be only happy about the result of today," Nizzolo said. "My feeling was not the best after that and in Eneco I was always fighting with my bike and today with my performance I can be happy. Second place in this race is a good result, especially with the top sprinters that were here.”



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